Grenfell Tower - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:51 pm on 11th June 2018.

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Photo of Lord Faulks Lord Faulks Conservative 6:51 pm, 11th June 2018

I declare an interest as a resident of the borough, and a further interest in that my wife is a councillor for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. She is not a councillor concerned with any of the issues that arise from the inquiry, but she is extremely concerned on a personal level with all the issues that arise from Grenfell.

I am sure the Minister would agree that the Government have been extremely critical of local government throughout the period that has elapsed since the fire. That has been a narrative to which the Government and the Opposition have subscribed. There has been a significant counternarrative, of which the Minister may be aware, in a remarkable article written by Andrew O’Hagan in the London Review of Books.

I do not ask the Minister to come to any judgment about these matters at this stage. We have an inquiry, which has made a promising start under the skilful chairmanship of Sir Martin Moore-Bick. However, there is one unfortunate part of the Statement that deals with challenging the local authority. I respectfully suggest that we should not be rushing to judgment and that central government should assist not only local government but all other agencies in dealing with this terrible problem in the way that is most effective.